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Wrongful Death: What You Need to Know

March 1, 2022 Legal Team
wrongful death

When a loved one dies due to someone else’s intent or negligence, you can hold the liable party responsible by filing a wrongful death claim. These can only be filed under certain circumstances, and you must prove the other party is responsible.

Find out when you can file a wrongful death claim, who can file it, and what you can expect during the lawsuit.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

When trying to determine if you have a wrongful death claim, there is a rule of thumb you can follow. If a person would have had a personal injury claim against another party – but is killed instead of injured due to the person’s wrongful action – you could file a lawsuit against the liable party.

Some instances where you could have a valid wrongful death suit include:

  • If the person was intentionally killed: If someone was intentionally murdered, the responsible party could face criminal charges as well as a wrongful death lawsuit from the victim’s family.
  • If the person died due to medical malpractice: A medical error can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit if the doctor or medical professional was negligent in the level of care he or she provided, if a person was misdiagnosed or mistreated, if there was a surgical error or other issues.
  • If a negligent driver caused a fatal car accident: If a driver was negligent and killed a person in a car accident, it can lead to a wrongful death case. This can include if a person was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or was participating in distracted driving.

What You Must Prove in Negligent Death Cases

To win a wrongful death case, you must prove that the accused is responsible for the victim’s death. When accusing the person of negligence, you must show that the defendant did not use duty of care with the victim and that their actions directly led to the person’s death. You must also prove that the death caused the damages you are trying to recover through the lawsuit.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death cases can only be filed by specific parties, and it varies by state. In general, a lawsuit is typically filed by a representative of the victim’s estate on behalf of the deceased’s family and loved ones.

In Florida, the following people can file a lawsuit:

  • The deceased’s spouse
  • The deceased’s children (minor children are entitled to higher damages than adult children)
  • The deceased’s parents

 Damages You Can Seek

When filing a wrongful death suit, there are several types of damages you can seek from the responsible party. Working with a wrongful death attorney, some types of compensation you can pursue from the defendant include:

  • Medical expenses to treat the injuries suffered by the defendant before the victim’s death.
  • Loss of income and the victim’s expected income. This is especially important if family members were relying on the victim’s income to live.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Pain and suffering and other emotional hardships caused by the victim’s death.
  • Loss of care that the deceased would have provided to his or her loved ones.
  • Loss of love and companionship from the victim.

We Can Help

If you lost a loved one due to wrongful death, you need help from top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro|Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.

We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.

To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.

Your family counts on you.

You can count on us.